Sewing and mending

Before I launch into my sewing tales, I want to ask if you and your loved ones are okay? I do hope you are staying healthy while this virus rampages around the world. All is good here.

Now, onto other matters:

While I haven’t made a lot of progress on my hand sewing ~ The forest regenerates ~ I have had a productive week with the sewing machine. Once I had it out, one thing lead to another.

  1. A linen jacket

Every so often I hanker to sew a garment. This time I fancied something to layer, not a heavy coat, something lighter. An autumn and spring something.

After a look online I headed to the shop to buy the pattern. Simplicity 8468

[Can I diverge here for some advice? I often look at indie pattern makers, and like what I see. However, I have two obstacles:

  • the price I would have to pay for postage often doubles the price of a paper pattern
  • or they come as a PDF, and I wonder about printing them off. Have you bought PDF  patterns? How did you print them? How would you advise me?]

This shop is one of those huge chain stores, so I wasn’t going to buy my fabric there. Instead I headed to Fibresmith, in Yarraville. When you look at the cloth they have, you will understand why I went there ~ and why I had so much trouble choosing.

My eventual choice was sage green linen. It sewed up so beautifully, giving me a jacket that I know I will be wearing often and for a long while. I love the almost hidden pockets!

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Even the Fella said “Not bad” when I did my super-model act for the photo. And I was pleasantly surprised by the photo he took, as I only had to delete half a dozen previous attempts!

So, fired up I moved on to:

2. An addition to a top.

I bought a top in Japan. I wanted to wear it with leggings, again, adding layers. (I love layers!) But it never quite worked. Was the material too light? To floral? Was it too long? Too much like a nightie? Then I came across an idea on Ann Woods’ site. Do you know of her? She is a great one for mending, adding patches, as well as creating owls and mice and dolls and all manner of little things. Most of all I love her gentle writing.

Ann calls it a front bustle, and you can see a photo of hers if you scroll down almost to the bottom of this post.  This is my version.

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So maybe the solution to my Japanese top was to alter the hemline. We shall see. (Note how the Supermodel Slippers add an extra elegance!) It was quick and easy to do. Ann has instructions if you fancy something similar.

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3. Simple mending

I use old table napkins under the cutting board on my kitchen bench. The hems have given way. The are perfectly useable with wonky hems, but I thought a fancy border might be good. So I did.

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4. Slightly more difficult mending

I love long black jumpers, which layer wonderfully, but perfect ones are very difficult to find. I was annoyed when I discovered one of my favourites had been munched. I am sure I had to darn a sock back in my Brownie days, maybe for my Thrift Badge? It gave me a vague idea of what to do. Now I have a jumper that is full of mends, rather than holes.

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There will be more, as the poor thing has worn thin over the years. I took a photo showing the light coming through the jumper. You can just make out the green garden through the window!

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You know, with all the chaos in the world, it was lovely to do some mending. I can’t mend the world, but I can mend a few little things that I come across. Someone wise on the radio was speaking about the Climate Crisis, and how we feel so overwhelmed. What can one person do? She used the analogy of the Covid-19 pandemic, where we are all doing things to slow down its spread. They might be simple things like washing our hands and not hugging people, or bigger things like self-isolation, but they are things that work. They not only help to protect us and our loved ones, but the wider ~ indeed global ~ community.

We won’t save the world one darn at a time, but add up all the things we do across the globe. Maybe…..

Stay well and healthy.

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I have been creating some smaller abstract embroideries that I am calling ‘The jewel-sea’ series. I am going to show them off in my Letter from my Studio this weekend. Sign up if you would like a sneak peek.

contemporary embroidery

SAL ~ The forest regenerates #3

Only a little bit of progress in my sewing this time. However, each stitch takes it one stitch closer to being finished! This is where I was last time:

Contemporary embroidery

This is where I am now:

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It’s almost like one of those old fashioned “Spot the Difference” cartoons! (Remember them…two almost identical drawings, and you had to find a certain number of things that had been changed or left out of one.)

I have been sewing though. I finished three little works that I have called the Jewelled-Sea series. I will post more about them at a later date.

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After sewing these I felt I needed to look after my hands a little, and give them a break from sewing. That’s one of the reasons why progress on the purple one has been slower.

There is a group of us who join in this Stitch-A-Long, organised by Avis. They do wonderful stitching, so do go and have a look at what they are doing. A couple have finished a work, so celebrate with them! Welcome back to Linda, and a warm welcome to Laura and Cathie, two new members of the group.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny,Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ,Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda

contemporary embroidery

SAL ~ The forest regenerates #2

Many apologies for this late Stitch-A-Long post…I think I must have inadvertently deleted Avis’s reminder email…..which also had the current links to others who are joining in. So, I will link back to my SAL post from last time. Your other option is to go to Avis’ post. As well as getting an up-to-date list, you can look at the lovely highlands landscape she is sewing. Do go and see what delightful personal stitching the other group members are doing.

And more apologies…there is not really a lot of progress in my work. The weather here has been very humid, which doesn’t make for easy sewing. And life has been busy.

And I was a bit stuck with how to deal with the bottom of the work, which meant I wasn’t sure how far down to take the couching, and what shape to make it. More of that in a moment.

Last time…

Contemporary embroidery

This time….

Contemporary embroidery

I think I know how I am going to deal with the bottom of the work. I knew this texture couldn’t continue to the bottom. Firstly because I want to create some idea of trees in a forest, and secondly because the work needed variety of stitch and colour.

I played around with some thoughts in my sketchbook, and will do an approximation of this idea. Tree trunks, probably in white/cream against a mottled darkish background to simulate undergrowth. It will trail off to the bottom right to provide another diagonal. Well, that’s the idea! I haven’t investigated the thread stash to see what I have that will work. Maybe next time…..

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Apologies again for not having the list of other members to link to. Again, here’s Avis’ blog.

Contemporary embroidery

SAL ~ The Forest Regenerates #1

This SAL post is a couple of days late. Time seemed to slip away from me. This stitch-a-long is hosted by Avis, and should have been up on Sunday. At least now you will be able to check out everyone else’s posts (check the list at the end of this) and see wonderful stitching from around the world.

I have been working on free-form stitching of late. I enjoyed couching the threads on the last works, and have been carried away with couching on this current one. It is based on my love of trees. Many of you will know of my love of trees ~ not only individual trees but also the shapes and rhythms of them as a canopy. (If you would like to read more of where my tree obsession comes from, this post might help.) As I am stitching I am thinking of all the trees that have been lost in the fires over the Summer.

I am calling it “The Forest Regenerates”, but I may change forest to bush, to give it a more Australian flavour.

Its size is 25 x 30 cm, because that is the dimensions of a canvas I found to use when I am ‘framing’ it. I started without really thinking much about where it was going, only to find I was having problems with the tones. I couldn’t see which trees may be behind and which in front. Fortunately couching is very easy to pull out. (This photo doesn’t give you the true colour of the cloth, which is actually a vibrant purple.)

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So I began again. (The cloth colour is better, but it is still a more royal purple than shown here.)

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I was merrily couching along, until it dawned on me that it was becoming rather repetitive.

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Inspiration came from Patricia Brown who stitches over her paint cloths. I love her work. My work demanded some overstitching to help to make it zing.

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This is where I am up to…

Contemporary embroidery

And a close up

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Lots of lovely SAL projects at these links

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley,Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ

And a quick follow up on my reorganisation of my studio/playroom. I had some great suggestions in the comments about getting my table to fit so that I could face the window. It is all sorted ~ thank you!

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And again, while I have got you, a reminder about my Letter from my Studio, which comes out each fortnight (although lately it has been more erratic than I would like). In it I chat about my art and direct you to places where you can buy it. Jump to this link if you would like to sign up.

 

SAL

Yes, it’s that time again, to report in my sewing progress. However I am rather distracted at the moment. As you know there are devastating bushfires in Victoria and New South Wales. It seems like the country has been aflame for many months. Add this to extreme drought and record high temperatures. I want to blog some about that soon, as there are ramifications for all of us; in the mean time Ardez’s words, “Loving a sunburnt country” are very powerful.

I am also distracted by another dash to Emergency, with my Fella and his cracked ribs. He is on the mend, but you know the time that caring takes.

Anyway, back to my work. You can catch up with the beginnings of the work here. I was able to make good headway and finished it.

Most of the stitching is couched threads. When I got close finishing those lines I realised that the work needed more variety. You can see the French knots, but may not be able to pick up some of the running stitches that are there too. It gave just a little more texture.

abstract textile work

I was pleased with it, and offered it for a group exhibition at the Old Auction House at Kyneton. Then I thought that one was a bit lonely, so I did another! Both were accepted and are currently hanging in the gallery.

The Old Auction House is a lovely place, and has kept my creative practice going over the past year. (There’s another post about that too.) Kyneton is a regional town about an hour out of Melbourne. As well as the gallery there are other things to do, and lots of cafes for yummy lunches and coffee. So, if you live in or close to Melbourne, head out there for a lovely drive and exhibition visit. It’s on until January 20th.

The dilemma to exhibit these works was how to mount them, until I had a flash of inspiration one night while I was unable to sleep ~ to mount them onto shop bought canvases. Unfortunately the only canvases I could get were bigger than the works, which lead to the blank edge. It needed the line of sewing to give it some edge, to give it a frame. I even considered some form of quilting on that blank space. That might make some of you, especially Kate, smile ~ am I gradually inching towards being a quilter?!

Last night I set up another  work, this time based on my on going love affair with the texture and rhythms of trees. More on that one next SAL

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These SALs are organised by Avis. There is lots of lovely stitching to see on the following blogs, so do visit. And a warm welcome to our new member AJ.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Linda, Heidi,Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn,Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ